British Columbia (BC) has been a popular topic in the news over the past few years, and it’s all thanks to some of the harshest impaired driving laws in the entire country. There has been everything from an internal report from ICBC giving their opinion on how BC impaired driving laws are working to Supreme Court challenges to the Immediate Roadside Prohibition (IRP) program. It’s safe to say there are a lot of people who are not interested in cracking down on impaired driving in British Columbia.
But the people opposed to harsh impaired driving laws are overlooking something: just how many drunk drivers are on the roads right now, and even scarier, what time of the day they’re on the roads. Impaired driving isn’t a night-time problem, it’s an all day problem, and impaired drivers aren’t sticking to the highway or main roads when they’re driving, they’re driving near schools. The city of Abbotsford is finding that out right now, because Abbotsford Police have data that shows that in the first 2 months of 2016, 25% of drunk drivers were stopped during school and commuting hours.
Who are these people that are drunk between the hours of 8 am and 5 pm, and even worse, why are they driving? Abbotsford Police don’t know, but they cited an example of one case where a driver was stopped at 1 pm.
A 40-year-old woman was driving a Honda Civic with a bottle of rum as her passenger, speeding at 80 km/hr through a school zone. When police tried to stop her she kept driving because she didn’t realize the lights and sirens were for her. What if she sped through during the school’s lunch hour and struck a child, or veered off the road and hit the school?
This driver isn’t the only one driving drunk near a school. The Abbotsford Police have a map that shows all Abbotsford schools, and they’ve tracked several impaired driving incidents nearby. They’ve also found that 40% of the people who have been stopped have open alcohol in the car.
Maybe the people who are so strongly opposed to harsh impaired driving laws should take a look at Abbotsford. Thanks to the IRP program, the woman who sped drunk through a school zone lost her license immediately and most likely had her car towed away. And thanks to BC impaired driving laws, she’ll also lose her license long term and be required to drive with an ignition interlock. How can you argue that the punishment doesn’t fit the crime?